It's still going strong. A friend of the owner has been inspired to do the same for sculptors. The result - the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym.
It's not a place to work out. It's a studio where artists of any skill level may exercise their creativity.
Like the wood shop, the studio begins with basic safety classes, then gives artists access to tools and machines in any medium they envision. Or, like the wood shop, it's possible to describe a finished product and let an expert craft it for you. Like a gym, you may buy a per-visit membership or sign up for a range of time and come in as often as you wish.
Founder Darla Jackson quips that she's not just the owner...she's also a member.
An experienced sculptor, Jackson decided to launch her "gym" when she needed to weld something but had no easy access to the requisite gear.
A grant from an arts foundation enabled her to secure the space...in what was part if a Fishtown tire shop. Then she acquired the equipment and opened the doors.
Art being an evolving thing, she's constantly on the lookout for ways to expand her inventory of tools and machines.
She's energized by the way members inspire one another, teaching each other techniques and collaborating on ideas.
The space includes a gallery which features rotating exhibitions of member works. Some are themed. While the studio has just about anything an experienced sculptor might need, it's also home to classes so a complete sculpting rookie can get started.
The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym is located at 1834 East Frankford Avenue in Fishtown, convenient to Delaware Avenue and the "El". It's nearest the Berks Street intersection.
For information about their classes, the gallery, and facilities, visit them online at The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym or phone 215-901-1933.